WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

UK seeks to avenge earlier loss to Georgia

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The hot-streaking University of Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to keep its winning ways alive and avenge a 61-60 loss to then-No. 8 Georgia earlier this season when the No. 17/16 Wildcats play host to the 19th-ranked Lady Bulldogs Thursday, Feb. 11 in Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on FSN (Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southwest and Sun Sports). It also will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price and online at UKathletics.com.

Single-game general admission tickets are available for $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children 6-18. Ages five and under are admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For further ticket information, log on to UKathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).

Women’s basketball parking is available in the following surface lots and parking structures:

· Student Center Lot – off Euclid Ave

· Hardymon Lot – off Rose St.

· MLK Lot – between Lexington Ave and MLK Blvd.

o Handicapped Parking (first come-first served until full) is located in the Northeast corner of the MLK Lot, must have valid state-issued hang tag

· Good Samaritan surface Lot – accessible off MLK Blvd

· Parking Structure #5 – entrances off Limestone and S. Upper

· LR Cook Lot – located on the corner of MLK and High Street, across the street from Calvary Baptist Church

- Doors to the Coliseum will open one (1) hour prior to tip-off.

- UK Athletics encourages women’s basketball fans to arrive early to ease traffic and parking congestion around the Coliseum.

- Surface event lots (i.e. Student Center, Hardymon, MLK and Good Samaritan) typically reach capacity approximately 45 minutes prior to game day, at which point, vehicles should proceed to Parking Structure #5 (PS#5).

- The PS #5 shuttle will begin one hour prior to tip and end one hour post-game. The PS #5 shuttle picks up on Administration Drive, accessible via the sky bridge located on the 3rd Floor of PS#5.

Kentucky (20-3 overall, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) has won 15 consecutive home games, a school-record seven straight league games, and currently ranks second in the SEC standings with an 8-2 mark. It’s the best 10-game SEC record for the Wildcats in school history. The Lady Bulldogs (19-5, 6-5 SEC) travel to Lexington looking to get back on the winning track after dropping four of their last five games.

“This is an extremely difficult game for us,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Georgia is a very powerful team and is good at rebounding. They beat us up in rebounding the first time we played, outrebounding us by a large margin. It is a tough task ahead. They are a very good basketball team that is extremely talented and at this time of year everybody is hungry for wins. You have to play hard and well and we will have to do both to beat Georgia tomorrow.”

Paving the way for UK’s success this season is SEC Player of the Year candidate Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and SEC Freshman of the Year nominee A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). The duo averages 17.8 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. Junior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) also averages double-digits with 10.1 points per game while dishing out a team-high 4.0 assists per game. Dunlap also leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 8.9 caroms per game.

Freshman Jasmine James and senior Ashley Houts lead Georgia in scoring with 11.8 and 11.6 points per game, respectively. Junior Porsha Phillips is the team’s leading rebounder with 7.7 boards per game.

Thursday will be a matchup between two of the nation’s most productive offensive and defensive teams in the nation. The Wildcats currently lead the SEC and rank 15th nationally in scoring offense at 77.3 points per game while Georgia ranks 12th nationally and second in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 53.6 points per game. UGA also ranks ninth nationally and No. 2 in the conference in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 34.4 percent shooting.

UK’s pressure defense also has been its key cog this season as the Wildcats are holding opponents to 56.9 points per game (fourth in the SEC) and are allowing teams to shoot just .363 from the field and .288 from three-point range. Only one team (USC) has scored over 67 points against UK this season.

Thursday marks the 44th meeting between Georgia and Kentucky, the second matchup this season. UK fell in overtime to the Lady Bulldogs in Athens earlier this season, 61-60.

UGA leads the all-time series 32-11, including an 11-7 advantage in Lexington. The Wildcats are looking to chart their first win over the Lady Bulldogs in Lexington since 2005 and their first win over the Lady Bulldogs in Memorial Coliseum since 1999. UK’s last win over UGA came in Rupp Arena on Jan. 13, 71-63. Before that upset, the Cats’ last home win over Georgia was in 1999, an 80-76 decision on Feb. 7 in Memorial.

“We have had great, great attendance this year and our fans always give us energy,” Mitchell said. “We would love to have a few more in there tomorrow night and really pack Memorial. That would be huge for us.”

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